Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Cooke-Plagwitz, Jessamine

Degree Name

B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)


Department of Political Science| Department of World Languages and Cultures


Music plays such an important role in life, and perhaps it plays an even bigger role in the context of greater society, inspiring real change. Or, do contemporary events influence music trends and not the other way around? To research this question, I will begin by looking at the history and music trends of two countries – the United States and Germany – as case studies. I will first examine peer-reviewed research detailing how history influences music and vice versa, along with research explaining how people interact with music and their listening trends during times of societal change. Then, I will take a look at US and German history before analyzing their top-charting songs, discussing the broad musical characteristics of each decade and how they do or do not correlate with the trends of contemporary history. Lastly, I will detail the ultimate results of my research, along with the key takeaways and significance of my findings. Mainly, I have found that history influences music trends, more so than music influences history. This research is significant because it provides another lens through which one views history, which is crucial to understanding the nuances of historical events.